Low, But “Warm” Rivers This Weekend

There is one benefit to the lowest winter snowpack in decades…rivers are running warmer than normal.


The Columbia River is 4 degrees warmer than last year on this date.



The Willamette and Clackamas rivers are also warmer than one year ago.  If you regular walk, drive, or fish from a local river you’ve probably noticed how low they are running too.


In fact many west of the Cascades are near their lowest ever recorded for early May; many of our rivers look like they typically do in late summer.  Several rivers draining the west slopes of the Cascades are in the lowest 10 percentile of years.  Very unusual conditions for early May indeed.  Rainfall the past month has been less than 50% of average for most of Oregon.  Add that to the already low snowmelt feeding into rivers and this is what we get.

Enjoy the sunshine this weekend.  It’ll be our warmest weekend of 2015 so far…

Today we made it to 80 degrees (possibly slightly higher) in Portland and tomorrow should be a notch or two warmer.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

29 Responses to Low, But “Warm” Rivers This Weekend

  1. Lee Wilson says:

    Just seen the weather map weirdness. . Storms coming in from the East?

    I got bad feeling on this.. some ones going to get hit with a tornado.

  2. W7ENK says:

    Had a high of 87 degrees on Saturday in Oregon City and Milwaukie. I don’t mind so much when a forecast busts in that direction, it was a wonderful surprise!

  3. Aleta- West Gresham says:

    A nice bit of rain in Klamath Falls today! Yesterday was really nice down here. Thunderstorms were somewhat close last night but never did hit where I’m at. Just heard a couple of rumbles of thunder.

  4. schmit44 says:

    5/10/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:85 at Celilo, East of( 225 ft)
    Low: 60 at DW0462 Umatilla(390 ft)

    High:50 at Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft) & ALAKES Haines(7979 ft) & MT. HOWARD(7910 ft)
    Low: 11 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 56 degrees
    CROW FLAT (67/11 ) (5172 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.50″ at DW4287 Keno(4090ft)
    0.40″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3250ft)
    0.33″ at HOYT CREEK(5445ft)
    0.32″ at KLAMATH NWR(4531ft)

  5. JERAT416 says:

    I don’t suppose there is ANY way to guess if there will be enough water in the Deschutes to go floating (not white water rafting) this July near Bend, or go floating (NOT white water rafting) on the lower Sandy sometime this summer……it may end up a swamp that doesn’t move.

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    That’s quite a storm east of the Rockies into the Great Plains. Parts of South Dakota have a blizzard warning while other areas have a tornado warning.

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    This week looks to add some much needed snow to the Palmer snow field. Even Timberline Lodge will get a little more snow. That south face is melting quickly.

  8. My minimum temperature this morning was 52.5F(11.4C). that’s my highest daily minimum for the year so far(unless we get a cold front) finally beating February 5th’s reading of 50.5F.

  9. schmit44 says:

    5/9/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:88 at MERLIN SEED ORCH(1144 ft) & ECHO(683 ft) & ROWENA(116 ft)
    Low: 59 at ROCKHOUSE 1(1797 ft)

    High:44 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 12 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 52 degrees
    EW6796 Prinevill (80/28 ) (3773 ft )
    CW5507 Camp Sher (77/25) (3020 ft)
    DIMLKE (68/16) (4726 ft)
    Horse Ridge (US (67/15) (4160 ft)

  10. dee dee ku says:

    Any chance for tornadoes?

  11. Jason Hougak says:

    Dam this drought

  12. Brian Leroy says:

    Who say ski season is over, wow Whttp://www.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/data/current_extended/load.cgi?images_d2/ww_snow72.132.0000.gif

  13. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    All I ask is all the grass just browns and dies tomorrow and water restrictions are put in place for watering lawns.

    My medication is like a blanket, covering a T-Rex. He doesn’t fit in the room…. much less under the blanket.

  14. schmit44 says:

    5/8/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:85 at Celilo, East of( 225 ft)
    Low: 57 at Rye Valley(I-84(2230 ft) & DW0462 Umatilla(390 ft)

    High:46 at Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft)
    Low: 20 at Horse Ridge (US (4160 ft ) & CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 50 degrees
    EW6045 Prinevill (73/23 ) (2884 ft )

  15. Garron near Washington square says:

    Got the deck stained, and BBQ on high! Enjoy the Mothers’ day weekend, and MAYBE Monday storms…

  16. Lee Wilson says:

    Just curious, what would it take for a river to run dry? As it ever happened be fore?

    And how low does the Columbia have to go before it can not do any shipping at all?

    Has any one asked that question before?

    I ask this question because of a weird dream that the Cowlitz River dried up.

    How is that for a Sci-fi dream?

    • Garron near Washington square says:

      I would say another ice age would do that. Pure speculation on my part Lee, but because the Columbia feeds from so many dams and watersheds well out of our area to the north and east, I would think it would take a once in 10,000 year drought to accomplish that. I’ve seen plenty of the streams that feed that river at extremely low flows during really dry summers’, and really low Columbia and Willamette river flows. The only event I could foresee river beds that comprise that kind of territory actually drying up in our area would be an ice age where river dams actually cut off the major rivers’. That is what supposedly formed the Columbia river gorge in a VERY short time period due to ice dams breaking in Montana. There are actually rocks that were deposited in our area ( from Montana) from the last said event in and around Portland. That tsunami would be far worse than the one that might hit us after an offshore earthquake!

    • Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

      Yup, boulders carried up the Willamette Valley on ice chunks all the way from the Montana area. Then deposited on the ground as the ice melted. I’ve seen a few and it is really weird to see a lone granite boulder in a farmer’s field!

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Yeah , I heard about that. And we have a place in Vancouver that has deposits in it as well..The scab lands or something to that nature.

      8 hope we don’t have that type of on each in a 10k year drought. .great for solar..bad for food supplies.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Then let’s us pump water from the Columbia if we have a shortage lol..

      Yeah , I heard about that time and era.. And we have a place in Vancouver that has deposits in it as well..The scab lands or something to that nature.

      8 hope we don’t have that type of on each in a 10k year drought. .great for solar..bad for food supplies.

  17. Paul D says:

    Can we please get back to spring? I have a feeling it’s going to get skipped like winter did, and summer will be long and hot….

  18. JohnD says:

    Compelling as always…thanks Mark.
    ‘Excited about outdoor recreational opportunities this year…weather related encumbrances notwithstanding.

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